The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    Surprised to see the dislike for “Cricket” bubbling up so quickly. I love the song. It’s corniness fits the patriarchal condescension of the preacher pandering to his crowd. The metaphor works for me in that context.

    I also love most of this album. I do agree that the discrete songs are generally “better” than the ones that are more programmatic or show tune-like, with the exception of Daylight, which I love like the discrete songs. The Tramp’s songs are especially terrific. It would seem like the songs written for the original concept of expanding VGPS for stage are more enjoyable than the ones written for the new plot line.

    Way back in the day, when I bought this (yes, when it came out), I much preferred this to the studio album of Everybody’s in Showbiz, with the obvious exceptions of Celluloid and Hotel. Not the cover though. I think the front of the Showbiz cover was very appropriate at the time, and this one, well, is a bit of a mess.
  2. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I hadn’t noticed.
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  3. The knocking down of buildings in the name of urban renewal being a long time obsession of Ray's, one thematic contrast is between "Preservation" and "Demolition." Not that well fleshed out, but still....
  4. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    There have been a couple of mentions of disdain for the track. I was also going to say I was surprised, but there have since been a couple comments of praise for it. I take it there will be a lot of this in the coming months. I decided to save my "Cricket" thoughts until we get there.
  5. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    So, it's time for one of my favorite albums by the Kinks and I didn't have a minute today.

    In short, I love this album. I think it's on par with their late 60s production, and a return to form after MH and EISB (yes, I know ! "This is a provocation", our late president Jacques Chirac would have said). Musically, Ray is at his peak here. And the band plays so well.

    As Avid TeddyB, I was really surprised by the dislike for Cricket, too. It's always been one of my best loved songs on the album. A complete songwriting and arrangement success. I don't remember if Neil Hannon and Pugwash had this song in mind when they expanded the concept to 2 full albums (in 2009 and 2013) with their Duckworth Lewis Method project, to much artistic success (especially the first one). But I'm jumping ahead (mischievously, to be honest. I would hate anyone else mentioning Duckworth Lewis Method before me).

    I belong to the same generation as Avid Fortuleo (though one year younger), and I discovered the Preservation albums long after the fact. But I approached it very differently. As I wrote earlier, I had read raving reviews about it from a French journalist whose identity I'm not sure of, in a very Kinks-oriented Dictionary of Rock music. So I had high expectations when I bought the double Rhino CD of Preservation Act 1&2, probably in London in 1991. I lived there between september 1991 and june 1992, and I didn't own a CD player at the beginning of my stay. If I remember correctly, I had to wait for one of my rare trips back at my parents' home near Paris to finally listen to the CDs, after numerous sessions of manipulating the CD crystal box and peering through the booklet. Ah, those days when you could spend ages vainly trying to break the secret of a mute piece of plastic or vinyl, like a hominid before a monolith from 2001-Space Odyssey, until you finally could consummate the act of love with the long-desired music ! Ok, sorry, I already dwelled on this before and I'm getting a bit mixed up with my metaphors.

    Well, I was not disappointed at all. I loved the whole thing, and listened to it many times, to assimilate its richness and diversity. I can't say I really got very deep into the concept, though, but it didn't bother me that much. I see the broad lines of the script. What was different from other Avid's experience of the Preservation albums is, I viewed it as a whole from the very beginning. As a triple album. And although both albums are clearly separated (Act I on CD1, without the addition of the Preservation single, and Act 2 on CD2), I didn't really notice a break between the two, and to this day I have trouble remembering to which album belong certain songs. In fact, at first, I'm not sure I noticed that the Announcements were only on Act 2.

    When I listened to the albums again this year in the wake of the thread and with the intention of concentrating it into a great double record, I started to mentally separate both albums. And I realised there was a clear difference : Act 1 has no bad songs (I really love them all), and all the adjustments took place on Act 2, which I trimmed down to a single disc.

    I do have a few critics, though. To me, the specificity of these albums in the Kinks career is, quite simply, bad taste. Which is a surprise, coming from a band that used to epitomize British class and taste (yes, I have to admit this exists, as difficult as it is for a French) translated into the 60s pop idiom, with songs such as Sunday Afternoon or Waterloo Sunset. The vocal excesses, some of the brass arrangements, the female voices - or, to be more accurate, one of them, the girl that sings with a kind of fake lyrical vibrato - confer a certain cringe-y quality to some of the songs - mostly on Act 2, though, but already at a few moments on Act 1. Of course, this goes with the fact that the music was composed for the stage, and it should be listened to more as a musical than a rock album. With this in mind, I must say I got used to most of these excesses, and learned to enjoy them to some extent.

    Which leads us to the subject of cover art. The Rhino 2CD edition uses neither album's cover, but another photo from the Act 2 sessions :


    Avid Martyj most kindly gratified the opinions of the musicians among us with some sort of authority that I personnally choose to decline : tastes in music, especially pop music, are all about personal experiences and the meeting between an individuality and a sound at a given time and place. But I see what he means, because in matters of visual arts, I am both uneducated and dys-perceptive to the point of being a South-directing compass (not sure this translates well). I'm getting better with age and patient education by my wife, but when I was 20 I had the visual tastes of a 3-year-old: "oh, nice purple jacket, I like purple" was all I saw when I bought this CD. When I brought it back home in France, my brother almost felt sick when I showed him the CD. Since I'm very impressionable and have the strength of character of a developmentally challenged oyster, I immediately assimilated his judgement. "Preservation jacket, bad !". I haven't had the opportunity to change my opinion since, but with the experience I could not fail to accumulate in 30 years, I can see now that more than one thing are problematic here. But again, it is problematic in a way that goes rather well with the music, so maybe it could be seen as a stroke of genious? I hope Martyj and the visual-oriented Avids will give us an informed view of this cover in due time. I think the original Act 2 cover works better that either this one or Act 1's.

    So, to sum things up: great overall project, greater Act 1, though Act 2 as a single disc plays in the same league, even if more theatrically excessive. Someone above mentionned Tales from Topographic Oceans. I agree with the comparison. Preservation is the Kinks' Tales. It's as divisive between fans, it has the same level of musical ambition (with respect to each band's style and proficiency, of course), and it finds as many fans thinking it's overreaching garbage. I don't think the Kinks succeed as well on record as Yes did, but I still think that it's the best concentration of good music Ray ever wrote.

    Sorry for the overlong solo.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2021
  6. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    *sigh* The album cover...ugh. Is the main person on it supposed to be a cartoon version of Ray?? I assume so, but who the heck knows.

    I don't mean to flog a dead horse, but another disappointing album cover. And just looking ahead, my disappointment doesn't cease until maybe we hit "To The Bone". oh well. what can ya do?
  7. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    I won't go that far into it, but I find Cricket to be incredibly funny. I have NO idea how it fits into the theme of the album. But I'm down with Cricket.
  8. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    “and come to God’s call…with bat and ball.” :D
  9. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Preservation Act I
    In my childhood exposure to the Kinks, it obviously did NOT include the 2 Preservation albums as all these songs do not sound remotely familiar to me. Over the past year I have become slowly familiar with them. At this moment, I think Preservation I is more favorable to my ears, but I remain open to being swayed.

    I have to say, I am concerned about the story line that has been created with both albums. May be a bit ponderous. and maybe something I'm not looking for in music. I'm wondering if I'm going to be engaged or will my eyes (and ears) glaze over.
  10. zipp

    zipp Forum Resident

    How about Mike Oldfield?

    Tubular Bells 1973.

    Tubular Bells II 1992.
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  11. malco49

    malco49 Forum Resident

    going to have to say act 1 is what i consider to be the kinks last great record. i will explain my thoughts on soap opera and schoolboys when they come up. just for me this has the last vestige of the great ray davies song writing and the kinks still functioning as a bit of a "lad's band". after this it became more a vehicle for ray's desire to write musicals and when that kinda didn't make it big it seems just tried to make as much dough as possible.
  12. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Senior Member

    I love the Preservation albums. Because of the way I was introduced to them, I tend to think of Act I and Act II as parts of a whole, though I do agree that Act I seems to have more stand alone songs not necessarily related to the concept.

    Both albums were closely related to my introduction to the Kinks, along with The Kink Kronikles.

    I bought Act I when it came out, and I went with my brother and a good friend to see the Kinks at the Felt Forum on Thanksgiving night in 1974, for what I think was my second concert ever, for the Kinks Preservation tour, before having bought Act II. The Kinks opened with Victoria and a short set of “hits,” before an intermission after which they - I was going to say played the songs from Preservation - but staged would be a better word. It was a multimedia stage performance that was a cross between a Broadway play and a rock concert. The sound quality was so good at the venue that you could hear and understand all the lyrics. Not having bought and listened to Act II prior to the show did not affect our enjoyment in the least. Everyone left the Forum humming Salvation Road - what a catchy melody.

    I bought Act II shortly after the show. Aside from some songs like Sweet Lady Genevieve being great stand alone songs, Preservation will also be like a souvenir sound track to what is still one of my favorite live shows ever.
  13. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
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  14. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Preservation Act 1 is an A+ all the way for me, I enjoy every song and the lovely shade of yellow on the cover. This is the first post-VGPS album I really connected with when I initially explored the catalog. The version of the album in my streaming library ends with the song Preservation; when I eventually got the vinyl I was surprised and disappointed to find that it wasn’t included - it’s too bad because it really works well as a closer, and sets the stage for act 2.
  15. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Oh! Yeah, it’s track 12 on Apple. So the original ends with ‘Demolition’?
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  16. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Boy, did I get a laugh out of this, partly because I relate! As I recall, English is not your first language, but I daresay that you write in English with more clarity, thoughtfulness, wit, and expression than at least 90% of Americans!

    I will probably share thoughts on Preservation Act 1 tomorrow; right now I have an appointment with insomnia to keep...
  17. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    :kilroy: Part of the reason that critics came down so heavily on this album at the time, had to do with the release date. There was "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" in September, "Quadrophenia" in October, and then this (along with "Brain Salad Surgery") in November. Those other three albums are viewed as works that mostly achieve their lofty ambitions. With "Preservation," it wasn't immediately all that clear exactly what it's "ambition" even was. It certainly contains at least two A-list Ray Davies compositions, "Sweet Lady Genevieve" and "Sitting In The Midday Sun" (released as separate singles in the UK and as a double A-side in the U.S.) which definitely deserved to at least reach the lower regions of the charts. I get the impression that RCA had pretty much given up on the idea of the band ever having any big AM hits by this time, and only released them as singles as a token gesture.
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Well, you're too kind on my English, but I'm glad for the laughter [EDIT. why on earth did I write "loft"???]. I must have had an appointment with insomnia too that I was not aware of, since my younger child felt the need to remind it to me all night, with the neighbours' help. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Preservation Act 1.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2021
  19. Luckless Pedestrian

    Luckless Pedestrian Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    Yes! It feels so abrupt for it to end there, after becoming accustomed to Preservation as the closer.
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  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Morning Song.

    stereo mix, recorded May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    We gently rise into this track, with either some subtle guitar feedback, or a high-pitched wind instrument.
    This leads to a sort of humming spiritual singer’s vocal, that to me, has a soothing sound. This almost sounds like an introduction to a movie, and is likely supposed to.

    We have a choir and an orchestral backing, and the writing and execution is measured, balanced and beautiful. To me the way this comes in is ultimately extremely relaxing and mellowing. It sort of comes across as the quiet dawn, before the madness of the day, and in a sense, that’s what this works as.

    This is like a gentle mini-overture into the album, and I see this as a direct intro to the first song proper, in Daylight.

    A beautiful introduction to the album


    stereo mix, recorded May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Daylight over the Village Green early in the morning.
    Daylight over the hills and valleys heralding the morning.
    Daylight over the mountains, daylight on the Village Green,
    Daylight over the field and the factories.
    Another night has gone away and here comes yet another day.

    See the early morning risers walking round with bleary eyes.
    Worn out housewives grit their teeth ignoring new born babies' cries.
    Look at all the busy people this way, that way, everywhere
    Biting toast and swallowing tea and breakfast specials on the air.
    Feel that daylight.

    Feel the sunlight on my pillow and it stops my yawing.
    I thank God that I'm still around to see another dawn in.
    Daylight over the valleys, daylight lighting up the trees,
    Daylight over the hillside,
    Smile a smile and sing a song, another night has been and gone.

    Middle-aged bankers crack their backs and wish they were young and in their teens,
    Lonely spinsters dream of dating Roger Moore or Steve McQueen.
    Health fanatics in their attics training for the Empire Games,
    School boys dream of Captain Scarlet, battle ships and aeroplanes.

    Feel that daylight, Daylight.
    Daylight on the Village Green,
    Field and the valleys,

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    I love this song, and the way Morning Song leads into it is beautiful and flawless too.

    This is the scene setter. Morning Song sets the early feel, and Daylight sets the scene for the day. It is interesting how each new day starts afresh and the possibilities are endless….. well, until our programmed adult schedules introduce cynicism and all those other negative elements into the mix.

    Again, we have this easy flowing rhythm, that soothes and relaxes us. We open with a gentle strumming acoustic over the organ, and then a gentle up-strum rolls us into the song. The way the guitars work here is great, it is actually quite simple stuff, but the way it is put together and mixed is just perfect.

    We have the great rhythm of the guitar, but there is also a chordal melody playing along with Ray’s vocal melody, and the way it fits here is perfect.
    Ray’s vocal is earnest and comfortable, and almost on the verge of being somewhat gospel in its styling.

    Interestingly we get a change at about one minute. It feels like this is where we start to move into the album in a sense, because to me Morning song and the first minute of Daylight, are really part of the same thing. It comes across to me as a scene setting section, that has the whole relaxing and incredible feel of sitting in a pasture or a forest on a blanket, watching the morning unfold. I can almost hear the morning birds chattering as they get excited for the new day beginning. I can feel the dew on the grass. It is the perfect scene setter, and then we get the first change.

    The first verse ties in with The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation society and Everybody’s In Showbiz, with Daylight over the Village Green, and Here Comes Yet Another Day.
    When the first verse finishes we have a sort of return to an earlier Kinks style, that is sort of mixed with a movie musical type style, and I think that in the context of this song it works really well.

    That change sort of signifies that the initial serenity of the morning is over as the people start walking around and dealing with the day itself. Bleary eyes, worn out housewives, crying babies and busy people all feel the daylight.

    I must say I like the sort of subtle use of the horns here. It seems to balance with the band well, add its colour, without overwhelming the band itself.

    After that change up we return to the opening musical arrangement, but in a more vigorous incarnation.
    Here we have Ray singing about the sunlight on his pillow rousing him and stopping his yawning. Then we get probably the most poignant line, and I can only assume that this came after the hospital/pill incident, “I thank God that I'm still around to see another dawn in”. Then a series of references to how this daylight manifests, which seems like the logical wonder of the world around us, after being in a dark place for a while. We also get a reference to smiling and singing a song, which I would imagine would be one of Ray’s joys. The night has been and gone, and I survived it, somewhat seems to be the underlying message in this section.

    Then we move into the jaunty change again, and I’m going to say that it’s the second verse.
    In this verse our focus is slightly different than the first. Whereas the first verse was the initial eyes opening, and getting it together, here we have moved on to people dreaming about what the future holds, or fantasizing what could be. Old men dreaming they were younger. Old ladies dreaming of heartthrobs. Athletes dreaming of representing their country. Young boys fantasizing of being heroes of some distinction.

    Captain Scarlet was a precursor to Thunderbirds, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson around 1968. I’m not sure I ever saw Captain Scarlet, but I used to love Thunderbirds as a pup. In fact in England as a 3 or 4 year old I had Lady Penelope’s car, as a toy model, but it never made it to Australia with me.

    So, we have a two song scene setter, that I have included together, because I hear them as one thing. Hopefully that doesn’t annoy anyone, it’s just how I hear them.
    I think musically and melodically this is really good, and I like the picture being painted by the lyrics.
    The Preservation album is off to a really good start for me. I think Morning Song sets a nice atmosphere to lead into the Daylight rising, and we get the overall picture that this is just another day for the people of the Village Green. Yawning stretching, wiping the sleep from their eyes, dreaming of what could be and moving into the day.
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  22. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (intro)

    It looks like most of these episodes may be on youtube. This is the intro to the show.

  23. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    apologies once again for my nerdiness, but Captain Scarlet was actually the successor to Thunderbirds (which ran 1965-6).. a significant change between the two series is that Captain Scarlet introduced anatomically accurately scaled puppets, unlike Thunderbirds and every Anderson series before which used more cartoonish big head puppets. Captain Scarlet was intended to come across as a (relatively) more serious and grown up series than Thunderbirds, with a more sinister villian, deaths and no comic relief. Also no puppets were ever seen walking as it was thought to look too comical! It also had a groovy theme tune, performed in this version by the Anderson affiliated pop group The Spectrum (who wore Cpt Scarlet uniforms in publicity shots!)

  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter


    As I say I always loved this show as a kid.
    I just noticed that Gerry Anderson also did Stingray and Joe 90 in the same kind of styling as this.

  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, my history on it all is sketchy.... I was thinking of Joe 90 and Stingray, but I had forgotten about them
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